A sinister force lurks in the shady corners of global markets, quietly spreading its venomous tendrils across industries. Counterfeiting, a malevolent global specter, casts a dark veil over legitimate businesses, leaving a trail of deceit and despair. India is also entangled in this web of deceit as counterfeit products enter with impunity. The market is witnessing a plethora of counterfeit products ranging from popular brands such as Lays, Amul, Parachute and Glow & Lovely to essential products such as medicines. Chrome Consumer Research, a leading market intelligence agency, recently published a report that sheds light on a worrying trend: the proliferation of counterfeit products in the water treatment industry. The report examines the far-reaching implications of this escalating problem, which poses serious risks to consumers and legitimate brands on a global scale.
The widespread availability of counterfeit goods not only erodes consumer confidence, but also poses a significant threat to the reputation and market share of established brands.
A recent audit conducted by Chrome Consumer Research on behalf of a leading brand in the water treatment industry produced alarming results. The threat of counterfeit products looms over mass-market goods, leading to significant revenue losses and damaging the brand’s image. The audit findings showed that 60% of such cases were reported in North India, with cities like Rupnagar, Lucknow, Varanasi, Aligarh, Meerut, Allahabad, Rudrapur, Rae Bareli, Nawanshahr, Ferozpur, Hoshiarpur, Panipat, Jaipur, Dehradun, Jhansi, Moga, Rewari, Panchkula, Ambedkar Nagar, Patiala, Baramulla, Haldwani, Lakhimpur Kheri, Jodhpur, Solan, Kanpur, Ajmer and Karnal be significantly affected.
Driven by public health and safety concerns, the concerned brand took decisive action by taking legal action against counterfeiters and offenders. In response to the brand’s plea, the court, in conjunction with local authorities and the police, led raids, carrying out targeted operations at all locations.
To avoid such risks, experts strongly advise consumers to purchase products only from authorized sellers, trusted outlets, genuine business partners and certified service technicians. However, Chrome Consumer Research audits have also uncovered instances where authorized dealers have been caught selling duplicate products alongside local suppliers.
Counterfeiting is most prevalent in the apparel and FMCG sectors, followed by pharmaceuticals, automotive and consumer durables. In particular, the counterfeit sale of water filtration and purification products has been found to pose serious risks, potentially leading to waterborne diseases and loss of life due to substandard quality.
Chrome Consumer Research highlights the central role that mystery audits play in the fight against the counterfeit market. However, the company emphasizes the importance of taking essential measures. Mystery audits have evolved significantly, with market players becoming increasingly aware of ongoing raids. Counterfeiters now keep large warehouses stocked with thousands of counterfeit products and employ a variety of tactics to evade detection. They avoid face-to-face meetings, communicate only over the phone, or claim their associates are in the field. In addition, counterfeiters not only produce one or two types of products, but also develop local brands and counterfeit products that closely resemble genuine products. Building trust with customers is paramount, requiring additional efforts such as daily reporting, custom dashboards, and real-time data tailored to specific customer requirements. In a rapidly changing world, relying on audio, video and photo evidence alone is not enough; geotagging and timestamping are essential. Site visits can sometimes be time consuming due to supplier excuses.
As the fight against counterfeit products intensifies, Chrome Consumer Research remains steadfast in protecting consumer interests, protecting genuine brands and promoting a market environment free of fraudulent practices.